Oct. 5 Conor Gillaspie, Madison Bumgarner postgame interview

Oct. 5 Conor Gillaspie, Madison Bumgarner postgame interview

Q. What's it feel like to hit a home run like that?

CONOR GILLASPIE: You know, I'd be lying to you if I said I had words to describe that moment. Absolutely incredible, I guess is the best I can do. You know, as a kid and as a player at this level, you look forward to just getting a hit in the postseason just to help your team.

Wow, I mean, I'm a lucky guy.

Q. Conor, could you talk a bit about your personal journey to get to this point tonight?

CONOR GILLASPIE: Sure. As some of you guys may know, I was drafted by this club and got traded in 2013. I think mostly to try to figure things out kind of on my own. I was a little bit immature, I guess, as a younger guy. I had a great time playing in Chicago and a little bit in Anaheim. At the end of last year, I kind of took baseball for granted, I guess you could say, a little bit.

I think this time last year I was home, and I did some soul searching, I guess you could say, and realized that I had kind of made baseball the number one thing in my life, and it's not anymore, and I'm proud of that.

Leading up to this point I had played some during the year. I wasn't an everyday guy, and that wasn't my role. And I'm just as happy to do that. To be able to come into a situation like this and just barrel the ball is -- yeah, it went out of the park, but to be able to just come in and have your team behind you and have staff believe in you when somebody goes down, I can't thank this organization enough. Because there's plenty of other guys that could go out there and play when we have a guy down, and the reality is they chose me and they gave me the opportunity. I'll be forever grateful for that because obviously it worked out.

But just to be able to play in a postseason game is something that you'll never forget as a player.

Q. Just being back with the Giants, is there something about that clubhouse or that culture that kind of brings out the best in players and maybe allows them to elevate through games like this?

CONOR GILLASPIE: Well, I think a lot of the way this team is built, obviously the staff has done an incredible job of bringing good, hard-nosed players and players that do things the right way. It's evident to me just talking to all these guys, it's amazing how so many of these guys have the same mentality. I mean, bottom line is that starts with the front office and bringing the right group of guys in here.

We went through such a rough time in the last month, and yes, we didn't win the division, but I don't think there is a guy in there that doesn't believe in each other. What a great opportunity to be a part of this. I'm so thankful that I was able to come back here and that they wanted me here.

Q. Conor, when did you find out and how did you find out that you would be in there tonight?

CONOR GILLASPIE: Well, I saw the lineup yesterday. Obviously any decision made is based around Nunez being healthy, which he hasn't been able to play so far. Like I said, I'm happy to play every day that they put me in there. I don't question the lineup. I don't question Boch. He's won a lot of games for a reason. And for whatever reason he has a knack for finding the right guy in the right situation.

It's a special team, and guys never quit. That's what's so fun to play in this organization, because there is nobody out there that is timid. I mean, hey, you go out there and you play. What an unbelievable experience for Madison, for Buster catching. I mean, just, wow. There's almost times when you're out there when you feel like a spectator, you know what I mean? When Madison's pitching, I was sitting out there tonight thinking: This guy's getting the best hitters out in the world continually, and he's doing it every time he's pitched in this kind of thing. It's unbelievable.

Q. If you could walk us through the at-bat with Familia, what you were seeing what you were thinking, what you ultimately got and how it felt leaving the bat? And, second, you said baseball was no longer your first priority. I'm curious, what sort of things are your first priority?

CONOR GILLASPIE: Sure. First of all, in the at-bat I was pretty excited that Syndergaard wasn't in there. Let's get that out there first. He has some of the best stuff I've ever seen. And as far as the home run, you know what? I'll be honest with you, I couldn't tell you where the pitch was at. Right now I have no idea where it was. I just know it was up enough to swing at.

So I think you've got to trust in what you're doing behind the scenes as far as cage work and getting ready to take an at-bat. It's just you get in there and in a situation like this it's pretty much just, hey, I hope what I did works. It's one of those deals.

I couldn't tell you why it happened or how it happened, but it happened. So as far as your other question goes, I think I just got to a point last year where I let the happiness of my life and the happiness of relationships with people I care about, that was all based on what I did in the game. And when I went home last year in September, I thought about that. I said, you know what? There is absolutely no reason to let my happiness depend on whether I get a hit or not.

So I think being able to go out there and approach this just like you do with your jobs. You do your best. You put in your preparation. And then after that, you know what, you've got to be okay with whatever you write, just like we have to be okay with whatever comes out in the game. And I think that helps take pressure off yourself when you're playing too. So I think that definitely helps me.

THE MODERATOR: Madison Bumgarner is also here. So if you have questions for Madison.

Q. One last one for you. You were part of the same draft class as Buster and a couple of other guys. How special is it to come back after being away? This happened a few times, in Chicago you split with (indiscernible) two years ago. He was gone, and he came back. The Giants always seemed to have a knack of recycling excellent players who come back and help in this kind of situation.

CONOR GILLASPIE: You know, I'll say this, it's great to be a part of that draft class and to be a part of a team with those guys. More importantly for me is the type of people they are. And Buster and Craw, these guy first-class guys that are humble every day. They joke around like normal people. And that's important. It's important to get the right group of guys on your team.

You know what, the draft never really occurs to me anymore, but I will say this: I'm proud to put on this uniform. I'm proud to be friends with those guys in that locker room, because it's hard to find great teammates. It really is. And those guys, it's so much fun playing with them every day and traveling with them and doing anything with those guys is pretty special.

Q. Madison, when Conor was up at the plate, there was a pinch-hitter in the on-deck circle, and you were coming out of the game if he doesn't do what he did. Now he hits the three-run homer and you're up at-bat. How charged up were you at that point to go in and finish another one of these games the way you're capable of finishing these games?

MADISON BUMGARNER: Yeah, that was pretty impressive. He put me in a good spot there. But, yeah, I mean, just gave me the opportunity. Put us out there to compete. These are fun games, but they're pretty stressful at the same time. But it's all in how you prepare and look at it.

Q. You talk about these can be stressful games. When the other guy is pitching as well as you are for seven innings like that, does your mentality become at all just to outlast him?

MADISON BUMGARNER: No, my mentality doesn't change. It don't matter if we scored 10, you might go after guys a little more, but your plan is -- any starting pitcher, they all plan to go out there and throw a complete game. It doesn't happen very often. But that's your plan when you're going out there.

Q. Does each October success kind of fuel the next one? Do you go into the next one more confident because of what you've done in the past years?

MADISON BUMGARNER: No, I don't think so. If it is, I've been blessed with a lot of opportunities. But I've played this game enough to know that anything can happen, especially this time of year. So I'm not going to take any of that for granted or expect it to come easily.

Q. The first three innings I think you threw 21 pitches, and it may have been as many as 19 fastballs. The Mets were being very aggressive, hunting early, and the fastball was working. I think in the fourth inning alone you may have thrown 12 or 13 off-speed pitches. Was that your plan or was that your reaction to what you saw?

MADISON BUMGARNER: Just me and Buster's reaction. You're not going to sit there and throw fastballs by these guys the entire game. We did really good to get through the first three doing that predominantly. Then the longer you can -- these guys have seen it before plenty of times, but every day's different. The longer you can keep those pitches in the pocket, it's going to be your minutes. When things are being aggressive, like you said, that's okay. That's not a bad thing if you're able to make pitches. If you're making pitches and playing into that, then it's even better for you.

Q. You caught that line drive there in the 8th, and Ces threw pretty hard, and you were pretty emotional right there, still a scoreless game. What was going through your head on the mound there?

MADISON BUMGARNER: If that gets by me, I don't know where Crawford was at, but if he gets by me, it's a good chance it puts a run on the board for them. So just to be able to snag that thing was pretty big for us.

It's okay to say it now since nobody knows, but that was our family section, so just threw the ball there. That's why I threw it where I did.

Q. As Conor was crossing the plate, you said something to him, apparently, I heard?

MADISON BUMGARNER: No, coming into the dugout I think. I mean, I don't know what I said. We were just both pretty excited at the time. But I don't think it was anything significant.

Q. Okay, because I heard you say: I appreciate that.

MADISON BUMGARNER: Oh, yeah. Well, I think that might have been after the game maybe. I'm sure everybody does. A lot of people. A lot of people appreciate that.

Q. Madison, going into the Cubs, what do you think?

MADISON BUMGARNER: What do I think? I like our chances. I'll go to battle with these guys any day.

Q. I'm sure you get this a lot, so forgive me for asking again, but can you put a finger on why you've been so successful in these win-or-go-home situations? I mean, to do as well as you do?

MADISON BUMGARNER: No, I got you. I wish I had an answer for you. I don't.

CONOR GILLASPIE: He's tough, that's why. He's a competitive, competitive guy at everything he does, and it shows not just in baseball but anything in life. I mean, the guy will have a competition with anybody over anything. And those are the kind of guys you want on your club. There's no doubt.

MADISON BUMGARNER: Yeah, it gets said a lot, but our team and all our guys, we love each other. We love coming to work every day and going to battle for each other. We just really enjoy and have fun coming in and competing.

It's like Conor was talking earlier about the kind of clubhouse we have, and I think that says it all. Without that, we don't have the success that we do.

Q. You had a couple of disagreements with Mike Winters there, and then after the groundball you went up and talked to him. Were you apologizing or just asking him?

MADISON BUMGARNER: No, I'm not apologizing. We were just talking. I was looking for some answers. I mean, that's okay. You can talk to the guy. I'm not going up and screaming at him. We were just having a conversation.

Q. In a game like this where Noah's pitching and the way you're pitching and the scarcity of base runners, I think everybody in the ballpark was thinking one swing is going to change this game. Does it register with you as well? Obviously you're not pitching like one swing, but are you thinking to yourself, okay, as the innings go along, one swing, one way or the other?

MADISON BUMGARNER: Yeah, most games are like that the deeper they get, and usually that's the case. We know that we're kind of -- however the Mets have it, they have a lot of home runs, but you can't go out there and pitch scared like you're afraid to give up that home run. You've got to throw every pitch with conviction and believe it's the right one and just try to execute it. I mean, that's really it.